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❗ Following the latest government recommendations, Clifford's Tower will be closed until 1st May. During this time we’re keeping open our free-to-enter sites which are unstaffed and have large open spaces.
William the Conqueror builds two motte-and-bailey castles in York, one of them where Clifford's Tower now stands.
Find out more about the history of York's castles and Clifford's Tower
Both castles are burnt by Danish invaders, supported by the people of York. William rebuilds the castles and as punishment lays waste to wide areas of northern England.
The York Jewish community take refuge in the tower from a mob. Unable to escape, they commit mass suicide, and the wooden tower is set on fire. Survivors are killed.
The present stone tower is built, to an unusual four-lobed design.
After the northern Pilgrimage of Grace against Henry VIII, the rebel leader Robert Aske is hanged in chains, allegedly from the tower walls.
The tower's keeper begins to dismantle it to sell its materials. The aldermen of York stop him.
Royalists garrison the tower in defence of York during the Civil War siege.
An explosion, possibly sabotage, destroys the interior and ends the tower’s military use.
Much of York Castle's stonework is replaced, leaving little surviving from the medieval era apart from Clifford's Tower.
A prison encompasses the whole castle area. A high wall is built round the base of the mound.
The prison walls are demolished. Clifford's Tower again becomes visible and is opened to the public.
Learn more about the history of Clifford's Tower